BROADCAST INFORMATION: Today's game will be on WTMJ and the Brewers Radio Network with Joe Block and Bob Uecker.
The Brewers resume Cactus League play today in Peoria when they face the red-hot Mariners, winners of ten straight Arizona games. The M's opened Cactus League play with a loss to the Padres on February 22 but haven't lost since, and beat the Brewers 6-5 on the 26th.
Perhaps things can be different today when the Brewers face 24-year-old righty Blake Beavan (3.60 ERA this spring, 4.43/4.85 ERA/FIP in 2012), who is making his third spring appearance in his third major league season. Beavan pitched three innings in relief against the Giants on Thursday, allowing two runs on two hits and a home run. He has a 4.37 career ERA in 249.1 major league innings.
Beavan's peripheral numbers tell a pretty fascinating story about him as a starting pitcher. On the positive side, his control appears to be very good. He's walked just 1.4 batters per nine innings over the last two seasons, which puts him among the league leaders. He also doesn't strike many batters out (around four per nine innings), though, and allows a significant number of home runs (around 1.3 per nine). He'll throw a ~90 mph fastball with a frequent slider, and the occasional curveball and changeup.
Beavan has never faced the Brewers during the regular season.
He'll face Mike Fiers (1.80 ERA this spring, 3.74/3.09 ERA/FIP in 2012), who is also making his third spring appearance. Fiers pitched three innings in relief against the White Sox on Thursday, allowing a run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts. If he pitches 2.1 or more innings today he'll take over the Brewer Cactus League lead.
As always, the question with Fiers remains how far his stuff can carry him. His average fastball was just 88 mph in 2012, and despite its relative lack of velocity he still threw it over 50% of the time. He'll also throw a lot of curveballs (21% of all pitches a year ago) and some cutters and changeups. According to FanGraphs his fastball and changeup were his best pitches a year ago.
Fiers has never faced the Mariners in the majors, and didn't face their AAA affiliate (Tacoma) during his time in the minors last season either.
Here's the lineup he'll have behind him:
Norichika Aoki RF
Jean Segura SS
Rickie Weeks 2B
Khris Davis DH
Logan Schafer CF
Bobby Crosby 3B
Caleb Gindl LF
Hunter Morris 1B
Robinzon Diaz C
Mike Vassallo also reports that Johnny Hellweg, Brandon Kintzler, Jed Bradley and Ariel Pena are scheduled to pitch today.
If you're in Arizona today, bring your sunscreen: The game time temperature is expected to be 75 without a cloud in the sky and with light winds.